Things That Matter

Two Marines In California Have Been Charged With Smuggling Immigrants Across The Border

Coming to the U.S. isn’t easy. It can cost a lot of money whether people do it legally or not. Sometimes it can even cost them their lives. In 2018, The New York Times reported that coyotes — people who help undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. — charged people thousands of dollars. But who are these coyotes anyway? Coyotes can be anyone, men, women, professionals or otherwise. Coyotes have also been known to exploit those they are supposedly trying to help. The job is a dangerous one that puts all parties at risk with the ultimate goal of getting everyone in the party across the U.S.-Mexico border without injury or being caught. Unfortunately, more often than not, these stories don’t have a happy ending.

Two marines attempted to help undocumented immigrants enter the U.S., but were caught en route to their destination.

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According to media reports on July 3, Camp Pendleton marines Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero were arrested at Jacumba Hot Springs, California — which is east of San Diego near the border. The men had three undocumented immigrants in their car. They now face “one felony count of seeking monetary compensation,” Fox5 reports. When the men were pulled over for questioning the two Marines began pointing fingers at one another, CNN reports.

Salazar-Quintero allegedly told Law if he wanted to make $1000 for transporting the undocumented immigrants.

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This was not the first time Salazar-Quintero helped undocumented people enter the U.S. According to news reports, he told officials that he had picked people near Jacumba Hot Springs several times before. Officials spoke to the undocumented immigrants who said that they paid Salazar-Quintero $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. That amount is what the standard rate is, according to the 2018 New York Times report. However, Salazar-Quintero said he was expecting $500 for the pickup. It’s unclear if he was given more.

The complaint shows that Salazar-Quintero was the one spearheading the transportation details.

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It’s unclear who first contacted Salazar-Quintero but the complaint states that Law said Salazar-Quintero was handling the phone calls which include information about instructions. Salazar-Quintero also speaks Spanish which helped in facilitating the movement.

It’s also uncertain if other marines helped Salazar-Quintero to smuggle undocumented immigrants previously or if he acted alone. One theory that perhaps helped Salazar-Quintero is that officials wouldn’t question why he would have undocumented people in his car since he is an official marine. However, if he was in plains clothing that may have been a reason why he got caught.

Both marines are distinguished officers who have received awards for their service.

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The National Review reports that they both enlisted in 2017 and “have won the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Officials at Camp Pendleton said they are cooperating “fully with the investigative efforts into this matter.”

While coyotes aren’t the main way people enter the country, it’s a method that is still used whether it is through car transport or via semi-trucks.

We’ve seen previous reports of dozens, if not hundreds, of undocumented immigrants being transported through semi-trucks. Some are in there for days without water or without means to use the bathrooms. The NY Times reports that “a decade ago, Mexicans and Central Americans paid between $1,000 and $3,000 for clandestine passage into the United States. Now they hand over up to $9,200 for the same journey, the Department of Homeland Security reported last year.”

Fox News now reports that Mexico is trying to combat the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by using X-ray machines to see inside trucks.

“Mexican officials say they caught more than 200 migrants hidden in trucks the last two days, using X-rays to see the people hidden inside. The Mexican security ministry also said it found 228 migrants in a routine search of a soft drink transportation truck in one of its southern states on Monday.”

“It is our strategic objective to end the impunity for human traffickers,” Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday, according to Fox News.

READ: New Research Shows Most Undocumented Immigrants Aren’t Coming From Mexico But Instead Central America

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California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Things That Matter

California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

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The world is racing to vaccinate everyone to put a stop to the relentless Covid-19 pandemic. In the U.S., states and counties are rolling out their own plans based on suggestions from health experts. California, home to the largest population of farmworkers, is making them a priority.

California has laid out their vaccination plan and farmworkers are being prioritized.

California is facing a relentless Covid-19 surge of infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. According to The New York Times, California has the second-highest level of infections per capita in the U.S. More than 30,000 people have died of Covid in California and the vaccination effort has been severely lagging.

California’s vaccination plan has been criticized for its very slow roll out.

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 816,000 doses of the virus have been given to residents. There have been more than 2 million vaccine doses shipped to California. Currently, California, the most populated state in the country, is still in Phase 1A. Phase 1A is for healthcare workers and long-term care residents. The Vaccinate All 58 campaign claims that there are 3 million people in California in Phase 1A. Almost 40 million people live in California.

Activists have been calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to make sure that farmworkers are prioritized.

California is home to the largest concentration of farmworkers in the U.S. The Center for Farmworker Families claims that 500,000 to 800,000 farmworkers, or about 1/3 to 1/2 of the farmworker populations, live in California. Seventy-five percent of farmworkers in California are undocumented.

As the rest of the state was able to shelter in place, farmworkers did not stop working. They provided a necessary lifeline to the nation in keeping the food supply running. Farmworkers are more likely to contract Covid because of their living conditions. Studies show that the low wages that farmworkers are paid means that many live in crowded conditions.

READ: As The U.S. Rolls Out The COVID-19 Vaccine, What’s The Future Of Vaccine Access In Latin America?

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Gavin Newsom Appoints Alex Padilla To Kamala Harris’ Vacant Senate Seat

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Gavin Newsom Appoints Alex Padilla To Kamala Harris’ Vacant Senate Seat

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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is leaving behind a Senate seat representing California. Gov. Gavin Newsom was under pressure to appoint a person of color and he is coming through. Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State of California, will be filling the seat.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed the first Latino senator from California.

Alex Padilla has a spent more than a decade serving the people in California from Los Angeles City Council president to California Senate to secretary of state. Padilla was the favorite to take the seat and gives Southern California rare representation in the United States Senate. As Secretary of State of California, Padilla stood against President Trump and refused to turn over voter data to the administration in 2017.

Padilla was raised by hard working immigrants.

Padilla’s mother and father emigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles individually and eventually met and married. As a shortline cook and a housekeeper, Padilla’s parents instilled in him the value of hard work.

“Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in D.C., lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement. “He will be a Senator for all Californians.”

Padilla is going to the Senate keep fighting for the values he has defended.

As the country gets ready for a Biden administration, there is a lot of attention on the recovery effort. The Biden administration is going to be tasked with bringing the country back from the brink. Covid has wrecked the economy and upended the lives of millions of families. Biden and the current Senate and House will be responsible for distributing the vaccine and getting the American people back to where they were before the virus devastated the nation.

Congratulations, Sen. Alex Padilla.

California is happy to know that you will be representing us in the Senate.

READ: Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

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